‘Tis the season. Still.

Yep-there is still more citrus fruit coming from my little trees. I don’t have that many, and they are very young, so it is not as though the yield is enormous. But it is still keeping me busy, making sure that none is wasted. What on earth would I do if they were fully grown trees? I can imagine friends and family starting to run off as they see me advancing upon them with more and more bags of fruit to give away!
So, I’ve already used up a colander full of lemons for the lemon tart last weekend. What next?

Lemon curd, that’s what.
I have had store-bought lemon curd a few times, and I found it quite bizarrely awful on the whole. Nothing like the creamy, smooth, sweet-but-tart homemade stuff I am used to. The commercial curd often seems to have been artificially thickened, and sometimes seems to use lemon oil rather than juice as the main flavouring, which tastes too strong and a little detergent-ey for my liking. Or worse, they use artificial flavours.
You know what? I’d rather make my own. It’s not hard and is a great way to use up lots of lemons when they are ripe for the pickin’. You can adjust quantities to suit-this recipe only makes about 400mls, which is only 2 small jars. It is such a lovely thing to give away, you might as well make extra so everyone can have some.

lemon curd toast

lemon curd toast

And don’t just use it for toast-it is nice on scones, as a topping for banana cake and one of my favourites-mixed into lovely thick greek-style yoghurt with a little extra sugar or honey and some lemon zest, then churned in an icecream maker (or just frozen in a tray and stirred regularly while freezing) for delicious frozen yoghurt in summer.

For one quantity you need:
125ml of lemon juice
200g caster sugar
3 eggs
100g unsalted butter cut into small pieces

also: sterilised jars-I fill mine half full of water, put them in the microwave for 5 minutes, then dry them in a low oven on a tray lined with a couple of teatowels. I kept the oven door open a little so I could make sure that the teatowels weren’t catching on fire!

You also need to rig up a double-boiler-type arrangement: a saucepan or pot with water simmering in it and your heatproof dish (I used a big stainless steel mixing bowl) that sits over the top but DOES NOT tough the water itself (if it does you risk curdled, scrambled, sugary, lemony eggs. Not good.)

double boiler-vanquish any sweet scrambled egg problems

double boiler-vanquish any sweet scrambled egg problems

Mix the lemon juice and sugar in a heatproof bowl until the sugar has dissolved.
Sieve the eggs (use a spatula or spoon to press them through the sieve) to ensure that the curd is as smooth as possible, then mix the eggs into the lemon and sugar.

sieving eggs. its a bit gross, but apparently necessary. hmm.

sieving eggs. its a bit gross, but apparently necessary. hmm.

Then pop your bowl over the simmering water and stir the mixture constantly and gently until it thickens-mine took about 15 minutes. It is quite like making custard-when it coats the back of a wooden spoon, you know it’s ready.
Take the mixture off the heat and stand it on a wooden or plastic chopping board. Then stir or whisk the butter in, a few pieces at a time, until it has all melted.

the butter going in

the butter going in

Get your hot jars out of the oven and put them on something to protect them from thermal shock-another wooden or plastic chopping board, a wad of teatowels or newspaper.
Then fill your hot, sterilised jars with the curd while it is still warm, pop the lids on and leave the jars on their thermal protecting layer until they are cool.
Then put your jars in the fridge until you use them or give them away-within about 5 or 6 weeks, which shouldn’t be a problem because its so nice you’ll be scarfing it down faster than you feel you should!

Better work fast, Hen, 'cos your helper is getting restless...

Better work fast, Hen, 'cos your helper is getting restless...


~ by Little Red Hen on July 2, 2009.

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